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M. B. Wilson "crushtrash" (Bristol)
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Metadelic
Metadelic
Offered by jim-exselecky
Price: £7.99

5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars His pop-era - includes some great extras. Faulty DVD., 24 Jun 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Metadelic (Audio CD)
Firstly any fan will notice the apparent lack of any input from John into the production of this box-set (ie liner notes, mastering, over-seeing track selection etc), aside from the music itself ofcourse! His current trend is cold-noise, so a slight distancing is understandable, but this does result in some fairly indulgent/waffling liner notes from Martin Smith. The general artwork seems a little half-hearted, with nothing new to offer, which feels like an opportunity missed.

CD1 is well compiled, and although some tracks are not my faves the concept of this collection does work.

CD2 is really what I bought this for, as will many die-hard fans, as at last we get the 'proper' 12" mix of "Endlessly", the song which first caught my interest many years back. This track also comes in a second, unreleased, experimental-in-places alternative remix, called the Sparkle Mix. I hadn't realised how extended some of the other 12" from this era were, as the single sleeves did not mention they were special longer versions. Most of this disc has not appeared on CD before, and the BBC Session versions are also strong takes in their own right.

However to my ears "Endlessly" 12" seems to play back at a slightly lower volume than the rest of this CD, which is a bit of shame...but it's still a classic and sounds great!

The real problem here is DVD:

- no Play All option (that I could find), so you have to select each track by returning to main menu
- "Dancing Like A Gun" audio is faulty - certain sections of vocal are missing. When I listened to CD1 I could see what's happened, during manufacture/compilation Edsel have only included the left channel, but across both left and right. Hence John's vocals that often appear only in the right channel, particularly in verse 1 and the central break, are missing from the DVD altogether. I hadn't noticed it was a form of incorrect mono until then. This is the same sloppy treatment FGTH fans got with the bulk of CD1 of "Sex Mix", until Salvo admitted their error and repressed. This doesn't seem to occur on other tracks, or at least the vocals are not effected if it does.
- "Stars On Fire" is just over a minute and hastily fades out. As I've not seen this 'montage' before I don't know if this was a sampler video only, or whether that's all they could locate in watchable quality.
- oddly we get the DVD manufacturer details and copyright/usage warning messages after the end of the "Lose All Sense Of Time" animation, not before the main menu screen.

For me the DVD production lets this box set down badly, due to manufacture. Noone else has mentioned the audio issue in their reviews to date, so I'm not sure if it's the batch mine was from, or across the board.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jul 11, 2013 10:05 PM BST


Underpass(Remix) [VINYL]
Underpass(Remix) [VINYL]

3.0 out of 5 stars So-so remixes - one barely touched! Not at silly prices..., 12 Jun 2013
This review is from: Underpass(Remix) [VINYL] (Vinyl)
Depending on the stockist this ltd release can vary from £11 - £30 before shipping, and having heard the 2 mixes on my copy I must admit I'm glad I was at the lowest end when forking out for No 199 of 500!

The 'a'-side is the most creative, but is so far removed arrangement-wise that it left me liking some bits, but preferring the original in other places. However the 'b'-side by Dave Clarke & co is not much longer than John's own unearthed extended version, and sounds like it's the original with extra overlays rather than a remix. Whilst this is a better bet for purists, the fact it was so similar meant the odd shrill reverbed note and added groovy bass-synth interlude almost sounded amateur.

I'm not sure what I was expecting, but a braver Dave Clarke and perhaps more than 2 tracks would've been nice. Also an inner that didn't grip the vinyl like a sheath, only to result in light scratches when the two were eventually parted!

The original is a classic, and having also heard it live recently, maybe that is the problem, as John's versions are arguably still the best. To my ears, and pockets, this release is a little unnecessary.


Soothe My Soul
Soothe My Soul
Price: £5.51

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very mixed bag - one even sounds like a band remix (almost!), 11 Jun 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Soothe My Soul (Audio CD)
Having plumped for the dubby 12" of "Heaven" I decided to ring the changes and go for the maxi-CD with its 6 vocal mixes. Most of these mixes do feature pretty much all the song, and vary from the isolational disaster of the Black Asteroid Mix (zero stars for that one, just plain annoying), through the club-tinged Steve vs Jacques lead mix, to 2 rather interesting takes by Billy F Gibbons & Joe Hardy and Gregor Tresher.

The BFG & JH mix really follows the song structure, but rather than extending with sparse electro breaks, plump for the rockier guitar sound and some harsh(ish) drum overlays. This mix really works for me, as a fan longing for some good old-fashioned extended mixes with just a few extra elements added - this is probably the closest we'll get to a remix that sounds like the band/producers had any input! Worth the entry price of the maxi alone. The Gregor Tresher mix is also a marked departure from 4:4 repetitivness, and gradually builds before a rather unusual fade-out structure. Greg has also contributed a pretty decent 4:4 mix to the 12" (they are not the same mix), so he's definitely not let the side down.

Unlike "Peace" maxi, where I found nothing to love in its 40 odd minutes, 2 mixes on this maxi make this worth checking out, and if edgey club mixes are more your thang then the lead mix here will probably not disappoint.

Just avoid track 5 at all costs!


Music Of Quality & Distinction Volume 3: Dark
Music Of Quality & Distinction Volume 3: Dark
Price: £16.11

17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Almost as quirky as Volume 1 - some real gems, 30 May 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Volume 1 of MOQ&D was a bit of a novelty record in some ways, as it crossed over all genres of originals and moulded them, some in a more extreme fashion than others, into BEF's electro-funk of that decade. "Wichita Lineman" and "Secret Life of Arabia" are two sonic gems that it would always be difficult to come close to. Volume 2 was very soulful, but oddly left me cold as it was just too polished. Even the likes of Green and Billy Mackenzie couldn't quite elevate it to the odd fascination with Volume 1.

So after a very very long time, and around a year later tha Martyn had originally intended this project to see the light of day, Volume 3 has arrived (albeit with sneak previews of 2 tracks, in rather too similar form, on the BEF Box Set from a couple of yrs back). Which predecessor does it most resemble?

Phew, I'm glad to say the eclectic mix of tracks, vocalists and arrangement styles here place it very much as a natural successor to Volume 1, except the production is possibly a wee bit more modern sounding. We get semi-industrial/glitch drums and bleeps accompanying "I Get Wild", an incredible opener by Kim Wilde, and some mock-horn loops as intro to Green's rather juddery second track. Until well over the halfway mark this collection is very strong, and as challenging (it doesn't seem a novelty record to me these days) as the first LP ever was. We get some sublime pop moments, some breathy vocals, some treated strings (some of which are real), lots of space and even Glenn Gregory and Boy George contributing 2 tracks each! George's selections are both quite different in approach, "Dog" probably being the most difficult track on the album. I disliked H17's cover of Associates' "Party Fears Too" on Naked As Advertised, as it was out of place and dragged a bit, but here it sits more comfortably, and really works (it sounds like it could be the same mix?)!

However this album is over 70 mins so there are going to be a few tracks that don't quite make the grade, and to be honest "Smalltown Boy" and "Co-pilot to Pilot" (particularly as this closes the album - weakly) are tracks I may skip in the future. It's not that they're bad, but they just aren't very creative (and we have heard them in full before).

I plumped for the 2-CD version, and whilst some tracks work as instrumentals, they do seem to be just the backing tracks, with no additional lead instrument added to keep things fresh. When they work, they are great.

Packaging is really nice.

If you liked Volume 1 then I would recommend this, but maybe the 1-CD version unless you really must own everything Martyn and co produce (in the instrumentals Ian's presence is still missed).


Hearts And Knives
Hearts And Knives
Price: £10.36

3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Some great tracks and analogue sounds - a strong return, 23 May 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Hearts And Knives (Audio CD)
When you hear an 80's act is reforming, even with just 1 or 2 original members, there's always a mix of excitement and trepidation around any new material. The extended mix of Shameless Fashion on the single that precedes this album is excellent, giving the track more space and adding all the right elements for a true 12" version - so boded well. Beat Boy was their last proper album, with most tracks being over-produced (I guess for the US market) and over-long, neither of which applies to the tracks here. In fact the production is a little too demo-like in places, so the various overlaid elements can become a bit scrambled - but putting that aside this is a much better album overall.

It has definite nods to the first two albums, and also a couple of nods to Strange Cruise type material (remember that album?) which is why I have gone for 4 stars instead of 5.

Some lovely analogue synth sounds, great Bass from Steve Barnacle, stirling Guitar work from Robin and interesting vocal accompaniments from Lauren, plus throughful artwork and liner notes, all help to make this a worthy comeback release. Steve was never the greatest vocalist, but that only becomes apparent on one track here, and the lyrics are very interesting/telling at times!

Faves: Never Enough, Shameless Fashion, On We Go (really great slow track, nice and dramatic), I Am Watching (classic Anvil era) and Diaries Of A Madman (inc D Formula on writing credits, manic).
Least Faves: Hidden Sign and Dreamer I Know (both sound bit too Strange Cruise and MOR for my tastes, not quite edgy enough), and Breathe Life (couple of dodgey notes in this closing ballad).
The rest are all pretty good, although I wish they'd got a bit of assistance with the final mix (without spoiling the elements of their trademark sound).

This could have so easily been a disaster, but thankfully the strength of many of the songs, and the plethora of old-style analogue sounds mixed with live drums/guitars, make it a success.

Footnote: also later decided to buy this on White Vinyl (Pylon Records pressing). Surprisingly there was a brown area on side A which had some rather loud pops/crackles, from the end of Hidden Sign until first minute or so of On We Go (which is a real shame). It isn't dirt as item was sealed, but poor pressing. Thought as 180gm and 2013 technology this would not have been a problem, so wanted to add to my review of the actual product bought.

Musically sounds really good on vinyl though, and She's Electric sounds slightly different, as the guitar motiff just before the song starts is not audiblly repeated just after the line "...she's Electric", just the percussive effects. It is quiet on the CD, but definitely there, so I'm not sure if this is a slightly earlier mix? Everything else sounds the same to my ears, and the 12" picture insert includes the Steve centre-spread and all lyrics/instruments/credits (in a more readable format than the CD booklet). It looks great, and as long as you get a pure white pressing it sounds just like vinyl should!


Shameless Fashion
Shameless Fashion

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great to hear a 'proper' Extended Mix for a change, 20 May 2013
This review is from: Shameless Fashion (Audio CD)
The single is pretty catchy, with some noce guitar and bass synths, and Steve's voice generally cuts it fine (even if a lower register than he is usually comfortable with during the verses). Whilst some are wary that only Steve (and Mr Barnacle) have returned for this guise of Visage this track could easily have been from either of the first 2 albums, it's pure Visage!

The icing on the cake with this single release is the Extended Mix, which keeps to the original but adds loads of breaks and effects, coming in at just over 7 minutes. It's great to have a mix like this, as too many 80s acts are solely relying on trendy remixers for their single releases, who generally lose all the feel of the original (so only occasionally hit the mark for domestic listeners/fans). Having said that the John B mix is also strong, as he contributes to the original in other ways too, with its leaning towards a more electro/techno vibe. The other chorus langauage versions are a bit of a gimmick, but at least the band are trying something a little different.

Can't wait for my copy of the CD album!


The Minutes
The Minutes
Offered by Sent2u
Price: £9.25

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Creative and powerful album - "Hoodoo" 2013?, 9 May 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: The Minutes (Audio CD)
This is an interesting beast of an album, showing Alison's capacity to sing softly as well as with her trademark strength, amidst some often-challenging electronic instrumentation. Fans who have really only enjoyed the mellower vibes of "Voice" and "The Turn" may well be disappointed with this album, as may some who thought the excellent single "When I Was Your Girl" was the signature of this collection. But then I recall my own feelings about "Hoodoo" after her first 2 overtly pop albums, yet I now rate that as her best, with "The Minutes" coming very close second.

The lyrics seem personal and intense throughout, but at the same time occasionally are tinged with a sense of playfulness, and the sequencing of the tracks is excellent.

Guy's production and 95% electronic instrumentation will not be to everyone's taste, but even when they threaten to nudge Alison's voice from centre stage they do this with a certain skill and integrity. Most tracks here are not atall immediate though, and several only reveal their true skill and creativity after 3 or 4 listens, at least 1 being through decent headphones. Highlights for me are the dramatic "A Place To Stay", "Love Reigns Supreme", "Right As Rain" and "Rung By The Tide", but there isn't a duff track here ("Changeling" is my least favourite). Even one track delving into something close to drum'n'bass percussivly in its latter stages actually works!

As a fan of her great voice, and a preference for edgy production with a melodic electronic leaning, this combination is pretty much a marriage made in heaven. But I would recommend you listen to the samples first if you want another "Voice"!


Delta Machine
Delta Machine
Offered by b68solutions
Price: £5.25

8 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Touched by the hand of Flood...it makes all the difference!, 25 Mar 2013
This review is from: Delta Machine (Audio CD)
"Ultra" had its moments, and "Precious" plus "Suffer Well" were great tracks from "PTA", but personally I feel DM had been flagging badly since "SOFAD". In great part due to the loss of Mr Wilder and Flood. The songs were still there, so were the vocals, but a plethora of producers (Tim, and Mark, well known in their own right) never quite captured the magic. "PTA" was previewed by one of the best DM singles in many years, but the rest of the album was not the same era/quality, and "SOTU" was consistent, by consistently flat and uninspiring, which meant I didn't believe the hype surrounding "Delta Machine" either!

"Heaven2 was/is a slightly odd choice for first single, though it sits on the album very well, and is actually a real grower. The album itself is a huge relief, as its a real return to form. We have lots of moody Violator-esque keyboards, and also several tracks have lots of 'space'. The rocky and bluesy tracks are fairly intense, and have their place here, but its the glorious and subtle use of space and intricate brave bursts of keyboards/noise that bring this album out of the shadows. Whilst Ben has done a really solid production job, the album has Flood's production/mixing style all over it - and that's a very good thing!

The last two albums have at times sounded a wee bit murky, not this one. "Delta Machine" is Mode's finest hour in a long time, and Dave's vocals sound great. Maturer, rasping slightly at times, but on tracks like "Should Be Higher" he shows a vocal range he's rarely tried to use before (even if it may have hurt and could be difficult to repeat regularly 'live'). There are many good tracks of different styles on this album, the last 4 being consistently strong (so this album does not go out with a whimper). The opener "Welcome.." sets the tone for the more electronic aspects of the album, whilst the next two tracks show the variety, and the production/mix ensures they all fit together.

Martin's vocal track "Child Within", whilst brilliantly mixed, is not quite his best, the lyrics possibly just being too bleak. It would be great to hear a Flood remix of "Jezebel" for instance, but even so this interlude/pinion track works.

For me "Slow" and "Soft Touch/Raw Nerve" are the weaker tracks, but every reviewer will be looking for something slightly different as their favouraites, and least favourites. In time they will probably grow on me.

I opted for the standard edition and it is very difficult to prize the disc from the card sleeve, but it may be the batch in question. However it hasn't scratched (yet) and certainly doesn't detract from this being a really great DM album.

If you're still unsure check out the samples on Amazon, that was what swung me, and I'm glad they did. In this case you can believe the hype!


Pop & Wave
Pop & Wave
Offered by EliteDigital UK
Price: £26.95

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great mix of 12" from the 80s, some scarce on CD, 1 Feb 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Pop & Wave (Audio CD)
Being a Sony/Columbia release, this double features a mix of 'standards' and more unusual 'euro' hits. Bar a couple of LP versions (Prefab Sprout and OMD), so not really 12" mixes, this is a very strong compilation. Very bright mastering with most tracks at similar playback levels (so you don't need to rush for volume control) mean this isn't as punchy as more recent compilations, but overall the sequencing and choice of mixes make this a must-have compilation. I suspect one may be from vinyl (Alphaville track has some unusually sharp drum beats in right hand channel that sound a bit like a tracking issue), but everything is clean and crisp.

Trans-X is not the Big Mix I remember in the UK, and the female vocalist sounds different, MWH is the longer UK 12" remix (not the version that appears on most MWH compilation CDs) and Thompson Twins is an edit of the full 9min+ 12" mix (and apears this way on their Best of 12" Mixes as well).

Inlay notes all in German, ofcourse, including partial tracklistings of other releases in the series (which compile 7" versions, not extended mixes), which helps if you want to track some down.
Very pleased I got this.


All the Best
All the Best
Offered by BestSellerRecordshop
Price: £10.13

15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Interesting mix of League pre/post "Dare", includes all the hits, 12 Dec 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: All the Best (Audio CD)
The most recent Sight & Sound compilation, whilst offering great value for money for an occasional fan, strangely omitted their biggest hit from the actual CD....which thankfully is not the case here. This double-CD, or its German counterpart (this version has the liner notes translated into English for wider market), bravely compiles their poppy "Crash"/"Romantic" material with tracks from "Reproduction" and (mainly) "Travelogue", which is pretty much a 'first'. Where possible remasters are used (from the first 3 albums plus recent Fascination EP), and whilst the mastering here is overall quite loud, the relative volumes and quality are consistent across all the tracks. We get a mix of single edits, album tracks and some previously released CD bonuses (such as the excellent "Marianne" and "I Don't Depend On You").

Using 4-5 tracks from Travelogue era was never going to be easy, but "Life Kills" follows "I'm Coming Back" surprisingly well, although following it with "Louise" isn't quite as successful - neither track benefits from that play order! "Being Boiled" is the original mono Fast version (no strange reverb effects), and we even get the 2:30 instrumental remix of "Seconds" on CD2, from Love & Dancing. The "Reproduction" and "Travelogue" era tracks are the slightly more commercial ones, which is understandable, and it all adds to an enjoyable collection.

These compilations always include something fans would probably question, and exclude others - I would've loved to have seen "Are You Ever Coming Back?" for instance - but overall this is a strong Virgin era career overview, and if it introduces any new listeners to "Travelogue" (my fave, as you'll have guessed!), all the better.....

All the hits are here, plus several other "Dare" classics.

If you only have Greatest Hits, or The Best Of, then this compilation is worth checking out as an addition to your HL collection.
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Dec 13, 2013 1:00 PM GMT


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